[Now Voting!] Beginner Japanese Book Club // Now Reading: この美術部には問題がある!

Vote for the next book - now!

Can I vote?

If you are interested in joining the next book club we run, you can - and should - vote!

Please look under “Current Proposals” in the first post for more details on each option, including links to sample pages which will help you gauge the difficulty.

Please take difficulty into account

Some people do find that reading a work they love or know already is inherently motivating, but please be realistic. Look at the samples and compare to others. Remember that both language and density contribute to difficulty.

Difficulty Scores

The number in front of each option is a difficulty score based on club members voting, where 1 indicates “no effort at all” and 5 indicates “so much effort my head might explode!”. These scores aren’t objective by any means , so please look at the sample pages for yourself as well.

When will we start and how many will we pick?

We will likely begin reading on the 26th of March, with one week break after we finish reading Death Note. If a short manga (expected less than 8 weeks) wins we will also read the second place option following that without holding another vote.

How does the vote work?

The poll will be closed on Sunday 6th February at the latest.

You can vote for up to 4 options.

You can change your vote at any time by clicking ‘Show vote’ at the bottom.

  • [2.00] Full Moon [Manga]
  • [2.89] Mashle: Magic and Muscles [Manga]
  • [2.47] Night Cafe [Book]
  • [2.53] Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun [short Manga]
  • [2.78] Ranking of Kings [Manga]
  • [2.00] ひらめきはつめちゃん [short Manga]
  • [2.45] The Promised Neverland [Manga]
  • [2.45] Whisper Me a Love Song [short Manga]
  • [2.71] A Tropical Fish Yearns for Snow [short Manga]
  • [2.68] Rainbow-Coloured Photograph [short Manga]
  • [2.71] This Art Club has a Problem! [short Manga]
  • [3.05] Scary Lessons [Book]

0 voters


If one of the regulars could change the title to

[Now Voting!] Beginner Japanese Book Club // Now Reading: Death Note

that would be great! Thanks!


Silly question as I haven’t been part of a book club reading a novel yet, how does a reading schedule for a book work compared with a manga?

Just doing some very rough character counting to try get an idea of text volume (Obviously this isn’t a good representative sample).

夜カフェ(1) page 1 is very roughly 256 characters, page 2 is 395 characters.
デスノート ・ Death Note (1) page 21 (relatively text heavy) is 161 characters, page 28 (medium) is ~ 94 characters.

This seemingly large gap scares me a bit.
It looks like for 時をかける少女 the club read 5-11 pages per week, while with death note it’s more in the 25-30 pages per week range.
Is this roughly the norm for books/novels ?

I have tried to dabble in 星の王子さま but it was very slow going and seemed to require a lot of mental effort to stop my eyes rolling over at the sight of the text volume per page - and when I could get past that, having to work with less context from pictures made it more work further. I’m hoping / expecting that this will get easier over time, but it is also kind of terrifying.


my 2c… the books in the beginner book club tend to vary a bit… really will depend on where you are on your level. I have tried a few of the beginner books and dropped them and come back later. Aside from my very book being a beginner book club, in general I have found (with my life) and previous lack of grammar, etc…it wasn’t possible to enjoy the book and keep up with the club…also the stories didn’t pull me in (that will make a huge impact on if you want to continue)…

my first book was: (Girls’ Last Tour) Back in early 2019…was brutal…barely had any N4…but I was super happy i got through it…but I finished with the help of so many awesome people on the forums…(this isn’t a hard manga btw)

Then I thought I’d try (Flying Witch) harder but again did it…but found that it was really taking me many hours each night and most of my weekend just to be able to keep up and understand… (mostly lack of grammar)…vocab hurts but grammar and lack of reading experience hurt more…

Went back to the ABBC and have had much less headaches… though it’s gotten easier to the point that I can (depending on the extent of the vocab) usually get through a chapter in 60-90 min depending which is actually making the reading fun! Also the stories (currently doing Teasing Master - we are starting Vol 5 soon! It’s cute and fun and easy to read…brings that joy of learning and reading together …
Decided to try the BBC again and (Zenitendou, The Mysterious Sweet Shop) but it was too soon for me and gave up on that one early!..was too hard for me at the time (will likely go back to it at some point)… Also tried (The Mysterious Town Beyond the Mist) but it was too much text to process and keep up with the club…(and didn’t get into the story as much so read some and put it down)…[same with Kiki’s…hmm…probably because these stories didn’t really hold my interest as much maybe… :thinking:]

Then tried (Ogawa Mimei: Collection of Children’s Stories)…and this was IMO not the best pick for the beginner club…had actually had some native speakers was asking for help with some stuff and all of them said this is ‘beginner’ they were shocked… in any case for me that wasn’t a great pick (older writing style and kind of weird stories…just not my thing and too hard)…so dropped that one after a couple of the stories.

But then I saw last year Death Note was coming and I saw the anime 15 years ago maybe…and knew the story and thought why not…I can say it’s taken me quite a bit more time than ABBC, and it’s text heavy but not impossible. Not sure how much is because I know the story and now much is because now I have about 40% of the N3 grammar knowledge…but that combined I was able to get through each week within about 10 hours (sometimes a few pages go fast, then get bogged down an hour per page)…varied a bit…but it has been doable with everything. I figure if I can spend an hour or so a night and a couple of hours here and there and get it wrapped up then it’s within my ability…

I do feel like Death Note is worthy of being in the Beginner category, but it’s closer to the upper beginner level, which is fine…that’s what the forums are for…when stuck ask questions :slight_smile:

If you want to read it…give it a shot…see how it goes…the upside of buying physical books…can always go back them later :slight_smile: If you find the time commitment is too high, content to difficult, boring/not interesting, etc…no matter what book it is…can always put it down and pick up something different :slight_smile:

should add that I also picked up rental niichan… and because of these book clubs and the resources remain online here been able to read this w/o the club - currently in vol 3… and it’s also something I can get through a chapter in about 60 min or so… aside from being sad…hoping for a happy ending (but it’s a Japanese story… :expressionless:) it’s very approachable and easy to read (though it is an ABBC book).


I think that typically a book club’s schedule will start slow (~4-5 pages a week) and may end up at ~10-15 pages per week depending on the book and the club members’ stamina. That’s roughly how it went with the Ogawa Mimei club at least. I’m one of the people who tend to find novels way easier than manga, and I know that’s not true for everyone, but I’d still argue that after you get past that initial dread of a page full of characters, it’s really not that bad. Sentences in manga are typically speech, and therefore condensed and full of quirks. Sentences in novels are much more regular in structure, and do a good job of giving all the context you’d otherwise get from a picture. Because they can’t show, they explain, if that makes sense, and that makes them much more immediately understandable to me. The parts where I find myself struggling the most in novels are still almost always direct speech, exactly the kind of thing manga are full of. I’d say give it a try, and you’ll most probably be pleasantly surprised after the first week or two :slight_smile:


I’ll let you in on the big secret when it comes to pegging books to a particular book club level: we’re all just kinda guessing, here. :stuck_out_tongue:

Yeah, I found that… readable, but not fun to read. (And I mean the actual reading of it, rather than how depressing and/or unsatisfying the stories were.)


Want to second this. In books you’ll find a much higher amount of sentences where the main obstacle is vocab. With a vocab sheet, that barrier gets lower.

I would say that with your first couple book, the first week will be be the hardest. Like really hard. My recommendation would be to pace yourself and read a couple of pages a day. And then ask questions as you go, instead of waiting until you’ve read the entire chapter.

And then after a couple of weeks, you’ll find that the grammar you struggled with starts become a lot easier as you see the same structures again and again.

For Kiki’s, for example, I remember struggling with onomatopoeia and metaphors with ような. With コンビニ人間, I struggled with the passive tense and slightly more complex sentence construction. But eventually those kind of just clicked. I find myself having to break down sentences a lot less.


Wow, scary lessons is still in there, after all those years…
I feel like it deserves to win at some point just on longevity alone.


I’m definitely buying myself a copy regardless. :blush:


For Night Cafe I might look into getting a physical copy. The white of the sample pages hurts my eye lol. It doesn’t look that difficult at least.


We have some great participation! Thanks to everyone who has already voted.

If you haven’t voted on what we should read next, you have until Sunday!


I’ve ordered 夜カフェ(1) from my local Kinokuniya which should arrive in ~3 weeks - I ordered it now so it’d (hopefully) arrive in time and because if instead the current 2nd place wins then since it’s a short manga we’d be reading 夜カフェ next anyway.


I’m ordering from Kinokuniya too, so I decided to go for it as well!


That concludes our vote, thank you to everyone who voted and everyone that took the time to post a nomination.

From the 26th March we will be reading “Night Cafe”!

@sumsum would you be willing to host the club?

With the new rule we also have to say goodbye to “A Tropical Fish Yearns for Snow” & I’m pulling my other nomination “Whisper me a love song” since it was last and second last and I don’t really see a future where it goes through!

I will be updating the home thread during the day once I have the time. Also could one of the regulars update the title to

Beginner Japanese Book Club // Now Reading: Death Note



Ohh, I’m happy my suggestion won <3

I only really sporadingly participated in one book club before, so I’m not entirely sure what this involves, but I can try! That’s posting the weekly threads (with a vocab list template?) and deciding on a schedule? I’m a bit nervous to decide on a schedule, but I’ll try to look into some of the other book clubs to get an idea once I’m back home (in a week).


Since my copy is due back at the library soon and I would need to read 20 pages a day to finish in time, I’ll probably finish it up with the book club. Even if I magically finish before then, I’m still planning to join in since this will be my first book club read, and I wouldn’t have known about this book anyway if I hadn’t peeked in at the nomination list.

@sumsum Thank you for nominating the book! If you don’t have your copy yet, I wrote down the page numbers corresponding to the chapters for the paperback copy. (I don’t know if there’s other versions out there…)

Chapter List

①新しい自分になる! p5-15
④ほんとに言いたいこと p45-54
⑤同居人 p55-66
⑥似た者同士 p67-80
⑦二人でクッキング p81-95
⑧借りはナシ p96-112
⑨小さなお客さま p113-128
⑩みんなが集まる場所 p129-141
⑪夜カフェ p142-156
⑫準備オッケー p157-168
Hanabi’s Recipe p186
あとがき p187-189


Thank you! I will probably read on kindle, so I would have needed to ask for the physical page numbers anyway! :heart: Some of the middle chapters seem a little long for the beginner club, but I’ll try to draft up some suggestions :slight_smile:

I hope it’s all right that I’ll only make a home threat on the weekend (I’m not at home right now and doing that on mobile would be hard)


There’s about a page or half page of illustrations in just about every chapter as well if that helps. :slight_smile:


Take your time! The weekend is more than fine, just post the schedule you have and I’m sure you’ll get lots of feedback.


I’m glad it manages to hang in there, always high enough to stay!
One day, one day =P
If it ever falls off I’ll just read them on my own, I have the full set :rofl: